Urgent email

Save the Ayoreo’s Last Forest

The last uncontacted tribe in South America outside the Amazon is holding out in an ever-shrinking island of forest, as bulldozers clearing land for cattle ranchers rapidly close in on them.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has ordered Paraguay to protect the Ayoreo’s land, but well funded ranching operators are now clearing forest, bulldozing roads, putting up cattle fences and even constructing huge reservoirs for livestock.

It’s all illegal, but the government shows little interest in enforcing the law. The situation of the tribe, known as the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode (“people from the place where there are many peccaries”) is now critical.

Most Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people were contacted by missionaries in a series of notorious manhunts some decades ago in which several Ayoreo were killed. The survivors were forced out of the forest, but some of their relatives have managed to remain uncontacted, and want to continue living in their forest home. 

“Unless our lands are protected, our uncontacted relatives who want to stay in the forest will soon no longer be able to survive there,” says Orojoi, a Totobiegosode leader.

For more than 25 years, Survival has campaigned for the Ayoreo’s land rights, and part of their land has now been protected.

We need friends and allies around the world to pressure the Paraguayan authorities into enforcing the law and protecting all the tribe’s territory from further destruction.

Unless immediate action is taken, the prospects of the remaining uncontacted Ayoreo-Totobiegosode are bleak.

Please email Paraguay’s vice-President and the head of Indigenous Affairs, urging them to act now.

Emails sent:  Help us reach 15,000!

To: Mr. Vice President Hugo Alberto Velázquez Moreno and Mr. Edgar Gustavo Olmedo Silva

Target email addresses:[email protected][email protected]

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Dear Mr. Vice President Hugo Alberto Velázquez Moreno and Mr. Edgar Gustavo Olmedo Silva:

As you know, ownership of the Ayoreo Totobiegosode people’s territory (known as PNCAT) should have been transferred back to them, the rightful owners, decades ago, as laid down by international law, Paraguayan legislation and your own Constitution.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has also demanded the Paraguayan government protect the territory. However, your government has shirked its responsibility, and the core of the Ayoreo land is still in the hands of five agribusiness companies (Yaguareté Porã S.A., Carlos Casado S.A., River Plate S.A., BBC S.A, and Itapoti S.A.). This poses a huge threat to the uncontacted Ayoreo’s survival.

Not only is it your duty to return the land to its rightful owners and so ensure the survival of Paraguay's last uncontacted people, but it will also help the country fight its spiraling rate of deforestation. Uncontacted tribes are the best guardians of the natural world: by transferring their lands back to them, you will save their lives as well as their forest.

I urge you to act now to restore the land to the Ayoreo Totobiegosode people and expel all invaders from their territory.